“Gentleman Captain”

J. D. Davies

The fact that there’s a large degree of similarity in “fighting sail” novels doesn’t keep me from reading every on I can get my hands on.  Still, it’s nice to see an author come up with a new plot device.  J.D. Davies’ trick is to set the action to the Restoration era and enlist his characters in the navy of Charles II.

The main character is Matthew Quinton, son of a loyalist family, trusted by the king, but with virtually no knowledge of seamanship, despite the fact that he’s a ship’s captain.  This wasn’t unusual at that time, but Quinton’s lack of knowledge is why he losses his ship in the first chapter.  He soon gets another one – loyal gentlemen apparently being in short supply – and the story proceeds.

The book doesn’t live up to the promise of its novel original setting.  It’s two thirds over by the time things really get going and the pieces don’t all mesh smoothly.  However, it is Davies’ first novel, so I’ll read more if the series continues in hopes that his storytelling improves.